Friday, April 5, 2013

Crystal Lake - Haverhill, MA - 3/28/2013

This past November, my brother, niece, and I went for a quick hike around Crystal Lake in Haverhill, MA (Click Here for report and photos). That little hike turned into amazing as we were fortunate enough to experience being in the presence of a beautiful bald eagle. The eagle had seemingly taken up residence or was planning to, on a small island, close to the shore of the lake.

Although its right down the street, we had not been back here since that day in November, and feeling the urge last week to get out and practice taking some photos on the Canon, my brother and I elected to head down to the lake to see if there were any signs of the eagle, its nest if he had made one, or whatever else we could find.
A cove on Crystal Lake
Beavers do a number on some trees at Crystal Lake
We rounded the cove on the trail (which is well defined around the lake, but not marked or named), and immediately came upon signs of beaver....a lot of beaver. 
A beaver swims toward a debris-laced shoreline
Unless you live locally, you would have no idea that one can can actually do an approximately 7-mile loop hike or bike going along Crystal Lake, and crossing the street into the Crystal Gorge Reservation area. Although we didn't do that this day, you can see the woods below just around the lake make for a nice afternoon workout or leisurely stroll with limited noise pollution.

A pan hangs on a tall tree
There is a spot with a fire pit that is close to the road, and seems to get some use as observed from the occasional trash left behind. There was a pan hanging on the tree this time which made for a nice photo. The trail sort of disappears as you round the shore near the back end of the Crystal Lake Golf Club. The trail appears again, and follows the shore again.
Two aligned geese sit across the golf course
We stopped on the other side of the pond before the path leads towards the road and Crystal Gorge Reservation area. In November, the water was so low, we could almost walk out to the island. This time, we were stuck to the normal shoreline. There were no signs of the bald eagle or its nest. Why, who knows? Maybe it was because of all the beavers around! This little late afternoon hike felt like it was the hike of the beavers! We saw them on land and in the water, and have never seen them in action like this here before - it was actually pretty hilarious. We hung around by a fallen tree for a little while and took in the action. Adding to all the beaver action, a flock of geese could be heard coming from quite a distance away, and disturbing the silence, the flock of a dozen or more came screeching and screaming down into the middle of the lake. Wow, I was wondering what the heck would be next!

All of the photos below are the same beaver who kept swimming circles for us and splashing for the camera, but we spotted well over a dozen different beavers on the hike, on land and swimming in the water.

A beaver splash - sounds like someone doing a cannonball 

Heya buddy!
We waited until it was just about completely dark, and started to head back home, hoping that we would not come upon something else, like a coyote or pack of deer, which we see on a regular basis out our back window. Thankfully we didn't have any encounters, and we were home safely.

Spring is here folks, and the animals (and ticks) are starting to come out in full force, so stay safe, and Happy Trails!
A little light pollution didn't really ruin this one....
Hike Stats
Distance: approx. 2 mi.
Actual Book Time: 2:00

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